French legislators have approved a divisive bill that allows more stores to stay open — and more people to work — on Sundays.

The law was adopted Wednesday by a vote of 282 to 238 in France's lower house of parliament.

One of President Nicolas Sarkozy's key reform pledges, the bill's proponents say expanding Sunday opening hours will give the French economy a much-needed jolt as the nation wrestles with recession.

But France's leftist opposition calls it an affront to labor protections, and traditionalists decry it as an attack on the time-honored day of rest.